Last month we were proud to announce awards for the Value-Added Producer Grants program. Managed by USDA’s Rural Development, this program has had nearly a decade of success in helping producers capture more value for their agricultural products by producing, processing, or marketing their product in a way that enhances the value or expands the customer base for that product. Supporting this type of activity also creates new jobs, contributes to economic development, and enhances consumer food choice.
One of our most recent awardees, the Shenandoah Valley Beef Initiative, is a group of farmers, suppliers, veterinarians, and other beef industry operators located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains along the western edge of Virginia. They received $46,500 to form a cooperative and to explore the opportunities associated with accessing local markets and schools, which can include greater income, but is not without potential obstacles such as access to slaughterhouses and processing facilities.
You can learn more about how the Shenandoah Valley Beef Initiative got started and is bringing new jobs and economic opportunity to Virginia here. And for more stories on how USDA is supporting rural cooperatives, check out Rural Cooperatives magazine.